Showing posts from February, 2008

I Won Driscoll's Vintage Jesus

Today is starting off great!

I just got this message from my friends at The Vintage Jesus Facebook group (which you should join) :

You are one of the winners of the Vintage Jesus book give away. Please respond with your mailing address so we can send you your free copy.Vintage Jesus is the latest release from Mark Driscoll. I can't wait to read it.

Felling Junky

Yesterday I got nailed with something that put me in bed a soon as I got home from work at 7 pm. My head felting like it was going to explode and I had no energy. Thankfully my wonderful wife kept the wild ones away and let me sleep for something like 13 hours. But yesterday was a bummer of a day.

Oprah's New Religion

Saw this on Ben Arment's blog. The influence of Oprah in this country shouldn't be underestimated. I hope this makes Christian women (and I guess some men) think twice before giving her too much say into their lives.
Oprah has skyrocketed the career of another author on her book club. But this endorsement is a bit heart-wrenching. She's taking her fans through a year-long "Course in Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Each day, her book club site features a different lesson on this essentially new religion. Here are some quotes from this book:"There is no sin.""A slain Christ has no meaning.""The journey to the cross should be the last ' useless journey.""Do not make the pathetic error of 'clinging to the old rugged cross.""The name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol... It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.""The recognition of God…

Enjoying God as an End, Never a Means

Just heard something that I hope I never forget because I believe it could be one of those statements that people describe as "when I heard that it changed the rest of my life."

John Piper gave a talk on distinguishing the Gospel from false gospels and in the end he stressed that the goal of the Gospel is GOD! and nothing else. He went on to say that as preachers we MUST tell people this or....
they will become forgiven TV watchers who will never be able to break free of their idols.This is a powerful statement. It is easy to be Christian but to not fully enjoy God as an end, rather than a means to something else. May that be increasingly less true of me!

Goodbye Mr. Squatter

Stephanie blogged about a visitor we had in our house just over two weeks ago. That visitor is no longer here. Cheese didn't work, but some fresh peanut butter did the trick. Snap. Jacob and I escorted the squatter out of the house this evening. He'snow awaiting a free ride to the county garbage dump.

I feel no sorrow.

9 Tips for Doing Relationships God'sWay

I haven’t dated much; to be honest I’ve hardly dated at all. But it’s not for lack of trying. The good Lord knows how many times I prayed in middle school, asking for the chance to accompany this or that girl to pizza and a movie. I don’t know if the big guy upstairs was busy or if the line was disconnected but the sad reality is that the majority of the dates I had during high school were in my grandmother’s special sticky-date cake ever Christmas. Read more...

(my latest article for Prodigal Son Magazine)

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone

Cinematically amazing.

Emotionally agitating.

Mentally disheveling.

Ethically challenging.

Parentally disturbing.

I just watched Gone Baby Gone and I am blown away. The movie deals with dark themes of child abuse, drug abuse, systematic corruption, and moral dilemma. The performances by the actors are astonishingly authentic and you simply can not watch this movie without some kind of emotional response.

The dilemmas that arise in the lives of the movie's characters are both plausible and profound, leaving you the viewer, with the trouble of having to acknowledge and wrestle with your own feelings and convictions. Multiple times during the film a word was said, or an action was taken, that forced me to come face to face with the wondering of what I would say or do in that instance.

If you like to watch movies that demand an intelligent following of the plot and that force you to engage mentally with their themes, and if you like movies that pull out of you an emotive response from he…

Best News I Heard All Day

There are plenty of people who want to knock Mark Driscoll; they like to get on blogs and call him arrogant and mean-spirited. I think people who do this are lame.

Two of the coolest ministries out there are The Resurgence and the Acts 29 Network. The Resurgence is primarily a web based ministry that hosts all kinds of theological training and materials. The Acts 29 Network is a ministry that provides conferences, workshops, training materials and networking opportunities for church planters and pastors who want to band together and spread the Gospel.

Both of these ministries are headed up by Mark and are underwritten by the people of Mars Hill Church. I am so grateful that Mark is leading ministries that are giving back, often free of charge, to others who wish do grow in their faith and Gospel work.

Here is just another example of how The Resurgence and Acts 29 go over the top.
All main sessions and Q&A at [National Resurgence Conference 2008 Text & Context] will be live-str…

Getting Great Tunes from Pandora

I've been up at night working on some different projects and doing some writing. While I've been busy I've really enjoyed the website Pandora is a free website that automatically creates play lists for you based on your musical interests. All you have to do is enter the name of a musician or musical style and Pandora will pull up similar artists and tracks. Check it out!

10 Commandments of Purity

Not sure if I have posted this before or not. Either way it is worth posting again. It is from Ed Young Jr.

10 Commandments of Purity
I shall have no other human relationships before [my wife], including the kids.Remember the date night and keep it holy.Honor [my wife] on anniversaries and special days so that you may live long in the land the Lord has given you.I shall not take the covenant of marriage in vain by apathy.I shall not ride in a car or eat in a restaurant alone with a member of the opposite sex.I shall not travel alone.I shall not counsel a woman with the doors closed.I shall not share the details of our marriage with others.I shall not watch, read, or expose myself to sexual explicit shows, books, DVDs, etc.I shall remember the implications of breaking this covenant and commandment before God.

Matt Chandler on the Authority of the Bible

I've posted before on a preacher I enjoy listening to named Matt Chandler. I recently found some videos of him that I thought you might enjoy. Stephanie was amazed because she had a much different picture of him in her head. Maybe you do to. In this video Matt explains why it is important to have an authoritative view of the Bible. I think this 3:00 min clip highlights both his wit and his intensity.


Providence Revealed

Those moments in life when God shows up and does something that blows away any possibility of coincidence are sweet. I've had a few of them and I am always amazed.

Check out this short story of "supernatural synchronicity."

Resources for Preachers and Teachers

I have been spending some time working on another blog that focuses on a passion of mine - preaching.

The blog is Resources for Preachers and Teachers. My hope is that it will be a resource for men and women who are striving to effectively communicate the Gospel in all different contexts.

Please check it out and spread the word.


Martin Luther quotes

If you try to evangelize people nowadays with a black/white, right/wrong approach they will look at you, "as a cows stands and stares at a new gate!"

We must continually be seeking Jesus and remembering his grace because "Self-righteousness is the default mode of the human heart."

From a Tim Keller sermon

Fire Fast!

Tony Morgan gave a talk at a conference recently about 10 mistakes he's made in leadership; Tim Stevens blogged the list and ironically (for a reason you'll see below) the very first one was:

#1 Hiring Too Fast. Firing Too Slow.

I have scene first hand the carnage that firing too slow leaves behind. At my company all new employees get a learning period. After that learning period it is very difficult to let people go. Therefore it is extremely important that people are evaluated and decisions are made about their performance in a timely manner. And in the unfortunate times that things aren't working out, people have to be let go. If this doesn't happen you get stuck with people who hold others back, frustrate their leaders, accomplish little, and are detrimental to the rest of the team.

Today, for the first time, I had to bring an employee into my office and inform them that they were being terminated. It was unpleasant. I was nervous and my stomach was kind of f…

That Really Hurts

Hope this makes you laugh on your Wednesday. This could be my kids!

(HT: Corey Mann)

Tim Keller Article in Newsweek

Tim Keller is a pastor I first heard of, and fell in love with, about a year ago. He leads a church in the heart of NYC called Redeemer Presbyterian Church. I really enjoy his intellectual approach to preaching, yet he doesn't allow you to stay in the realm of headiness, and he challenges Christians on social justice and evangelistic issues.

Keller is a reformed theologian who, until recently, hasn't gotten much secular press. Newsweek recently did a short article on him called The Smart Shepherd. Here's a quote,
There's nothing sexy here. There's no rock band, no drop-down theater-size video screen, no 100-member gospel choir—just a few chamber musicians and a couple of prayer leaders to help the congregation along in its hymns. The crowd at Redeemer Presbyterian is overwhelmingly young, single, professional and—for lack of a better word—sober.Keller just published a book entitled The Reason for God, which I should be getting soon. Here are some great links co…

What I Did On My Time Off

After four days of being off I am headed back to work today. It was a nice break. I had a lot of fun being with Stephanie and the kids. Some highlights of my time off are...

- meeting and talking with the pastor at our new church
- sleeping in until 8 instead of 6
- watching my little bro play hockey twice
- shoveling the driveway and watching my son play in the snow
- watching some of Hockey Day in Minnesota
- changing out two vehicles headlights (major accomplishment for me!)
- taking the family to A&W, IKEA, and the airport

Letting work go to fully enjoy my time off was difficult. As a new employee I am constantly thinking about working hard to get the job done well and looking for opportunities to supersede my daily responsibilities. Checking my work email at home and seeing issues pop up isn't a good idea. It just adds unnecessary stress. I'll have to work on this in the future.

Following Around Elephants with a Shovel

Heard a good one from Mark Driscoll in a recent sermon on God's grace. He said something like...
God's grace doesn't mean you get to walk around like an elephant in the circus and God just follows you around with a shovel. (start at 5:00 in the clip below)

It is true that God will always forgive us. However, that truth doesn't give us the freedom to go around sinning as much as we want, behaving as if sin is not a big deal and that God will always be there to pick up our poop (see Romans 6).

In fact, for the Christian, the one whom Jesus died to save and in whom he now lives, an evidence that you are truly are saved is a decreasing propensity in your live to sin and an increasing desire to glorify God with all your being.

God's grace not only redeems and saves us, but it also calls and empowers us to live a new kind of life. You can see all the 14 different aspects of grace that Driscoll preached on, along with many more resources on the subject of grace, by clickin…

The Royals Keep on Rolling

Last night was a big win for Bethel hockey. They beat St. Mary's 6-2 in an exciting home game. Tonight they travel down to Winona for the second game of the series. The win, combined with a St. Thomas loss, keeps Bethel in sole possession of first place in the MIAC. If Bethel wins its next three games and St. Thomas loses 1 more of its five, Bethel will win the conference for the second year in a row.

Jeff played another great game last night with 2 assists and a third period highlight reel goal. With Bethel leading 4-2, and on the power play, Jeff and line mate Kent Bostrom came into the zone on a two on one. Bostrom drove wide on the defenseman and Jeff curled in behind Bostrom. Bostrom made a real nice drop pass to Jeff and he came in alone, short side on the goalie. After a deke, Jeff pulled the puck to his backhand and knocked the water bottle off the net, top corner, short side.

The game gives Jeff 33 points on the year (11 g, 22 a), tops on the team, and good for a ti…

It Will Grow Back

I posted about this concept a few weeks ago, but here is the entire article that I wrote published on an awesome online Christian magazine for men, Prodigal Son Magazine.

He Said I Did What?

In case you missed this a couple days ago on my wife's blog. I am guessing she paid Jacob to say this...

Who Is John Piper?

John Piper is a man known for many things. He is a pastor, teacher, author and champion of all things relating to God's glory and sovereignty. If you were around Bethel University a few years ago he was a man you either loved or hated in the midst of some serious doctrinal battles. However, before you close your mind's book on John Piper you should take a couple minutes and read, from his own son's pen, a little bit more of who John Piper is.

Check it out here.

Leadership Lessons from Work

Some things I have been learning at work (maybe they'll apply to your life as well) ...

- You have to own your own development. No one is just going to hand things to you that will magically make you grow.
- Some of the best lessons are found in trial and error, evaluation, and trying again.
- Conflict usually isn't as bad as we think it is going to be.
- A lot of problems can be avoided with a simple conversations.
- Everyone requires recognition in a different form. Identify it and give it.
- Slowing down to think and evaluate is difficult. But it is worth the effort.
- Setting aside your feelings about a person to objectively evaluate their performance is tough.
- Most people want to be trained so they can succeed.
- It is crucial to have your 'aces' in the right places, at the right times.

Dating Teaching Recap

Just finished up my talk with the middle and high schoolers. There is not many things more humbling than teaching church students, because you get so little affirmation and feedback. I felt like I was just throwing darts at a board hoping that some will stick.

In essence though that is always the prayer of the preacher. I am simply a sower of seeds, the Lord will water the crops and bring the harvest.

I feel good about the truth I communicated and the standard I set for the kids. I walked away happy that I did the best I could, and that the rest is in God's hands. It is not about me being a rock star teacher that all the kids want to hang with, it is about the truth of God's Word taking hold of hearts and transforming lives.

Protecting Your Kids from Porn

Ben Arment has an absolutely MUST READ post for parents of young kids. I can resonate with everything written (because I've been there myself) and I know that I will be talking with Stephanie and following the parenting idea listed near the end of the post.

Take 1 minute and read it.

I Thought This Was Fun

The following is a list of phrases in the impenetrable language of "Christianese." For those unfamiliar with this strange dialect, below you'll find a helpful Christianese-English Dictionary so that you can find out what your Christian friend is really saying to you. I first read this on Amber Cox's site, who had shared it from Tim Shraeder's site. Whoever created it - well done. 1. I'll pray about it = NO!
2. We need to pray for so and so = Guess what I just heard?!
3. I'm waiting for God to open some doors = I'm living in my parent's basement.
4. God gave me a word for you = I have advice to help you with your disaster of a life.
5. I'm going to have my quiet time = Leave me the heck alone!
6. God is good = My life sucks.
7. Bless his/her heart = What an idiot.
8. I have the gift of discernment = I can judge people without even talking to them.
9. I was having fellowship with them = We had beer and pizza and watched the game instead of going to chur…

Willow Creek News

There was a time in my life when almost my only model for church and leadership was Willow Creek. Since then I have expanded my interests and mentors (I use that term loosely). However, this seems to me like it is pretty big news for them, and I was kind of stunned when I saw it.

(HT: Mark Waltz)

Laptop Gets New Life

The power cord for my laptop died last November. We haven't had many discretionary funds since then so I had been putting the purchase of a new one off. Last week I couldn't take it anymore, and thanks to a friend's help, I was able to buy a used cord off of Ebay. It came to my house today and I couldn't be more excited about getting my computer back!

Blowing the Horn Before Hitting the Train

I almost perished yesterday as I was driving home from a morning appointment.

I was driving down a country road enjoying the day. The sports talk was playing and I was excited to get home and see the family. I must have zoned out for a second because all of a sudden I noticed some flashing red lights off to the side of the road ahead of me. Then a split second later I heard the scream of a horn followed almost instantly by a train barreling across the road right in front of my car. I slammed on my brakes and stopped. Had I noticed the lights or heard the horn one or two seconds later and I would have driven right into the side of the moving train.

I was doing some writing tonight for my talk on dating and I was thinking about accountability. I believe we all need a person or two in our life who can blow the horn on our behavior before we slam ourselves into something. I hit the side of a train a couple years ago because I chose to ignore the blinking lights and warning horns of t…